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April 17th, 2007

Mocktails for the sober and sick

A sober friend said to me a while ago, ‘You should write something on mocktails.’ He was getting pretty tired of ordering O’Doul’s every time he went out and was looking for other options. I sympathized, filing his idea away in my brain’s to-do list. Well, that to-do list quickly became buried by other to-do lists filled with my usual booze-centric topics. Then, about a week ago, I developed the most hellacious cold; my doctor actually prescribed Vicodin to numb my cough. Ginger ale, tea and water are all I’ve been drinking, and I’m damn sick of it. That mocktail idea is back at the top of my list. My friend is right: those of us who are on the wagon, temporarily or permanently, should have more drink options. And I’m talking adult options (not sugary kid’s drinks like Shirley Temples) beyond NA beer, virgin Bloodys, or soda with lime.

The Arnold Palmer, a classic quencher of half iced tea, half lemonade, is a simple, good drink that seems surprisingly under the radar. However, it is listed prominently on the drink menu at the All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman Square, Cambridge. Thai and Indian restaurants also offer interesting non-alcoholic beverages, like Thai iced tea (cold, spiced red tea with sugar and cream) and Lassi, a south Indian yogurt-based drink that can be sweet (and mixed with mango, etc.) or savory.

Eastern Standard has one of the few cocktail menus around that feature a list of Mocktails — actual made-to-order mixed drinks, only without spirits ($5 each). They are:

  • Stormy Monday (a play on the Dark and Stormy): ginger beer with lime and bitters.
  • Abbey’s Punch (ES’s Papi’s Punch without the rum): Fresh lime, pineapple and orange juices, housemade grenadine, splash of Sprite.
  • Lemmy Tum Tum: Great for the tummy, ’cause it’s full of Peychaud’s bitters. “It’s basically fresh lemonade with tons of Peychaud’s, served as an up drink. Medicinal, tart and flavorful,” says bar manager Jackson Cannon.
  • Sophisticated Lady: Cucumber muddled with a sprinkle of salt, shaken over ice with cranberry juice, lime juice and simple syrup, then filtered and served over ice. This one’s Jackson’s fave, “a real cocktail. It just doesn’t have alcohol.”

Finally, Jackson suggested a Mock Toddy for my froggy throat: pour boiling water over two lemons cut into eighths and dusted with cayenne pepper, and a spoonful or two of honey. Strain into a mug and drink.

Got your own mocktail suggestion? Let me know.

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